As a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Rideau Canal is definitely a local highlight. How better to get a sense of it than from the water?
There are a number of options for boat tours available from Rideau Tours at Chaffeys Lock. The 3 Lock Tour is the longest and will likely give the best sense of the history and the beauty of the canal, taking in three particularly lovely villages and lock systems.
The 3 Lock Rideau Tour – Nature & Heritage Discovery of Chaffey’s, Davis Lock & Jones Falls
Departure at 10am (Boarding begins at 9:45am)
Return to dock between 2:30pm & 3pm
Cruise length 4.5 hours (may be a little longer due to time in locks)
$60 per person
$45 children 12 years & under
SCHEDULE – June 2, 2018 to October 9, 2018
A catered picnic is available at $22 per head or you could bring your own.
We thoroughly enjoyed this tour at the beginning of September 2018! It was a lovely, relaxing day, with plenty of interest. And the gourmet picnic made life very easy and civilized – we sat at a picnic table, with a red and white checked tablecloth, enjoyed sandwiches, cheeses, pepperettes, fruit, cookies and delicious homemade watermelon lemonade!
Back on dry land
Returning to the shore, an ice cream or drink at the Opinicon is a must. This beautiful historic cottage resort has been lovingly restored to retain all its character, but with contemporary touches. It is a social enterprise, the project of Ottawa’s Fiona McKean, who bought the dilapidated resort in 2015 with her husband, Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke. The energy and inspiration it has brought to the local community is just awesome, not to mention the 100 or so jobs.
This article on the return of the Opinicon will give you some sense of ‘The Grand Old Dame of the Rideau’.
Chaffey’s Lock is itself a lovely spot for a gentle stroll. There’s a beautiful old mill housing a local art gallery, historic buildings including the Lockmaster’s House Museum. A useful leaflet outlines a self-guided walking tour (pdf). Indeed, the surrounding area is dotted with heritage buildings; nothing fancy, but an interesting insight into settler days, especially if you happen to have read history books or novels that bring those earlier times alive. I recently enjoyed Away by Jane Urquhart and found it piqued my interest in the older dwellings around us.
Of course, if you don’t feel like getting out on the water, all the locks and the villages can alternatively be visited by car.
Depending on inclinations and stamina, you might choose to end the day with a restaurant or bar meal at the Opinicon (reservation recommended).